Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Laurie Hertzel–News to Me: Adventures of an Accidental Journalist

By Jim Heffernan
"Working in journalism can be frustrating (newspaper owners are notorious skinflints) and at times a drudge (yes, there’s routine), but it also is interesting, even compelling, much of the time."    Jim Heffernan    
DNT newsroom nostalgia...
That's Sue Willoughby in front with–from L to R–Laurie, Dick Pomeroy,
 George D. Johnson (former Duluth mayor), Jack Tyllia (the guy with the long sideburns
in the back) and Paul Brissett to the right behind Sue.
Sorry my eyes are too old to identify the others.
I’ve enjoyed reading excerpts from Laurie Hertzel’s book recounting her early experiences as a reporter and editor at the Duluth News Tribune.

The newspaper is doing her – and itself – a great favor by publishing the excerpts as Laurie’s book, “News to Me: Adventures of an Accidental Journalist,” is introduced this week. Her official book launch gathering is at 7 p.m. Thursday at Fitger’s Spirit of the North Theater.

Now the books editor of the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, Laurie, who grew up in Duluth, spent nearly 20 years at the Duluth paper, starting with clerical work while still a teenager and evolving into one of the paper’s leading reporters (and editors, after a stint on the copy desk), by the time she left for the Twin Cities about 15 years ago.

I’m pleased to report that I had a small hand in helping her put the book together. We sat for an afternoon in a Duluth restaurant about a year ago and talked about the “old” days at the newspaper, starting in the first half of the 1970s when she showed up there fresh out of high school.

It was fun to reminisce about that period, recalling the names of past colleagues – most long gone on to other jobs, some dead – and events, the coverage of which we might have participated in or at least were witness to. (As most of you know, I began my Duluth News Tribune career in 1963, retiring in 2005 while continuing writing columns as a freelancer until 2008.)

Reading the published excerpts (I haven’t read the entire book yet; I’ll buy one at the launch and have her sign it), I am reminded what an excellent writer Laurie is. Beyond that, she is an impressive memoirist, calling up events and people from more than 30 years ago with fidelity to the way I remember them as well.

Working in journalism can be frustrating (newspaper owners are notorious skinflints) and at times a drudge (yes, there’s routine), but it also is interesting, even compelling, much of the time. Overall, I loved my newspaper career, and it’s clear now that so does Laurie. With this book, she’s on the record.

Note: Connect HERE to access Laurie's book web site and HERE, HERE and HERE for the DNT coverage, including excerpts from her book. See you on Thursday night for the big Duluth launch!


laurie said...

what a nice surprise to find this, jim! i could not have done the book without your help, and the help of jacqui, larry fortner, paul brissett, ruth hammond, bob jodon, and all the others i pestered during the year i was writing it.

and if you want, at my book launch, i'll tell you the names of all the other people in that photo!

Jim Heffernan said...

Laurie -- I am SO proud of you. Really enjoyed the excerpts in the DNT and can't wait to read the book itself. Been waiting to get an autographed one at the launch. I've been thinking about how proud your dad would be. A shame he can't share this moment with you. Well, see you tomorrow night. -- Jim